An image of a smiling Capybara.

Capybaras

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Updated Mar 22, 2023 at 10:55AM EDT by Zach.

Added Jul 01, 2021 at 02:47PM EDT by Philipp.

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About

Capybaras are giant cavy rodents native to South America and the largest living rodents in existence. Capybaras inhabit savannas and dense forests and live near bodies of water. Thanks to their appearance and docile behavior, capybaras had niche virality in memes starting around 2013, achieving major virality in meme culture in 2021 and the following years. Prominent meme trends surrounding the capybara in the 2020s range from Ok I Pull Up and His Name Gort to Masbro and many others.

Origin

Capybara (sp. Carpincho) is a giant cavy rodent native to South America and the largest living rodent on Earth. Capybaras are herbivore semiaquatic animals and are relatives of the guinea pig. Capybaras are docile and usually allow humans to pet and feed them. The animal has adapted to urbanization in South America and can also be found in zoos and parks.

The popularization of capybaras online started with the creation of the capybara-themed photography blog Capybara.eek.jp on February 1st, 2007, by Japanese photographer Katsuhito Watanabe.[1][2]

In 2006 I encountered a capybara and was so charmed with it that I became a capybara photographer.
My life revolves around capybaras: I go to zoos where capybaras live over 100 days a year and take over 100,000 pictures of capybaras a year.

On March 16th, 2009, Watanabe launched the YouTube[3] channel カピバラ写真家渡辺克仁 (example videos shown below), also launching the Twitter[4] account @capybarahp in May 2012 and the Facebook[5] page カピバラ写真家〇渡辺克仁 in September 2012, posting photographs, videos and other capybara-themed content. As of September 2021, the Twitter account accumulated over 19,000 followers, while the Facebook page attracted over 144,000 followers.



In the West, the popularization of capybaras online started in June 2013 after June 5th when the gimmick Tumblr[6][10] and Twitter account Animals Sitting on Capybaras was launched (first post[7] shown below, left), with the account posting photographs of various animals sitting atop capybaras. On June 18th, the account made[8] its first post to gain over 500 likes and reblogs (shown below, center), posting[9] the first image to go viral on Tumblr and gain over 30,100 likes and reblogs on September 11th that year (shown below, right).



Spread

2013 – 2017

Apart from the Tumblr account, until late 2018 capybaras did not see major popularity online. On March 27th, 2012, the subreddit /r/capybara[23] was created, with users posting photographs and videos of the animal. Also in that period, several gimmick pages dedicated to capybaras were created on the Russian social network VK, including the music page Capybaras and Progressive Rock,[11][12] created in December 2012, which posted progressive rock songs together with images of capybaras, and the meme page Capybaras and Chernomyrdin's Quotes,[13][14] created in May 2016 that posted images of capybaras paired with quotes by former Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.

On November 20th, 2016, episode three, titled "Jungles," of the Planet Earth II documentary was broadcast on the BBC.[15] In the episode, a jaguar is shown carrying a caiman crocodilian by the head before the camera cuts to a shot of a shocked-looking capybara standing on the river bank. The reaction, which became known as Shocked Capybara, went viral on social media, primarily on Twitter,[16][17] with the GIF of the capybara being used as a reaction GIF (video shown below). On December 13th, Redditor[18] gothicmaster reposted the clip to /r/gifs, where it gained over 8,500 upvotes in five years.


On August 24th, 2017, Twitter[19] user @justkelly_ok made the earliest viral tweet about capybaras, posting several photographs previously posted by Animals Sitting on Capybaras Tumblr gimmick account and writing, "When I'm sad, I like to remember how capybaras are chill as hell pals with the rest of the animal kingdom." The tweet received over 20,900 retweets and 51,000 likes in four years (shown below, left), with the YouTube[20] channel Did You Know Animals? posting a video "Why Do Animals Like Capybaras So Much?" on October 6th of that year. The video received over 2 million views in four years (shown below, right).


Kelly Ellis @justkelly ok ... When I'm sad, I like to remember how capybaras are chill as hell pals with the rest of the animal kingdom 9:49 PM · Aug 24, 2017 · Twitter for Android

2018 – Present

The animal achieved another wave of online attention after December 21st, 2018, when Katsuhito Watanabe tweeted[21] a video of several capybaras taking a yuzu bath that received over 15,200 retweets and 32,100 likes prior to being deleted (YouTube[22] reupload shown below, left). This video, as well as similar videos of capybaras taking a yuzu bath made in other years, were actively referenced in posts and memes in the following years. A November 2018 YouTube[24] video in which a capybara has a yuzu on its head gained particular popularity (shown below, right).



Prior to early 2020, several viral posts about capybaras were made by users on Twitter. For example, on July 2nd, 2019, Twitter[25] user @RobertMaguire_ posted a video of a cat "massaging" a capybara that received over 440,000 views, 6,900 retweets and 23,100 likes in two years (shown below). On December 10th, 2019, Twitter[26] user @w0a0i0f made a tweet referencing the yuzu bath videos which received over 8,300 retweets and 59,900 likes in two years.


On January 6th, 2020, Twitter[27] user @virtualfairies tweeted a thumbnail of the November 2018 yuzu bath video in which a capybara has a yuzu on its head, with the tweet gaining over 34,400 retweets and 122,200 likes in two years.

In February 2020, the gimmick Twitter[28] account @CAPYBARA_MAN was created, with the account reposting images and videos of capybaras. On July 5th, the account posted its first viral tweet,[29] a photograph of several capybaras sitting several feet apart captioned "social distancing." The tweet received over 56,100 retweets and 240,600 likes in one year (shown below, left). In the following months, the account made multiple capybara posts that went viral. For example, its September 3rd post[30] received over 40,300 retweets and 212,300 likes (shown below, center). In 2020 and 2021, the account played a significant role in the popularization of capybaras on Twitter, accumulating over 182,000 followers as of September 2021.


CAPYBARA MAN ... @CAPYBARA_ MAN Social distancing 8:13 AM - Jul 5, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone CAPYBARA MAN ... @CAPYBARA_MAN A small friend is still a friend 9:09 AM - Sep 3, 2020 · Twitter for iPhone CAPYBARA MAN @CAPYBARA_MAN Social distancing works. Zero confirmed cases in Capybaras so far 7:30 AM - Aug 2, 2020 - Twitter for iPhone

Okay I Pull Up Capybara Memes

On September 10th, 2020, YouTuber[31] EGA NATION reposted a meme combining a 2014 video of a capybara riding in the passenger seat of a car with the viral hit "After Party" by Don Toliver, better known as "Ok I Pull Up" (video shown below, left). The reupload received over 690,000 views on YouTube in one year and played a major role in spawning the "Ok I Pull Up" trend, which is closely associated with capybaras (viral June 2021 example[32] shown below, right).



In 2021, capybaras achieved major popularity online, with users submitting fan art of the animals and using images of capybaras in various memes, usually of the wholesome type.

Capybaras Invade an Argentinian Suburb

In mid-August 2021, media[33] reported that hordes of capybaras have taken up residence at Nordelta, Argentina's most well-known gated community north of Buenos Aires built on the wetlands of the Paraná. The news inspired many social media users both in Argentina and globally to portray the capybaras as symbols of communism and class struggle against the rich (example tweet[34] shown below).


His Name Gort

His Name Gort refers to a series of memes showing a fake Wikipedia page titled "His name" over an image of a plush isopod, a description underneath reading, "Crimes: Several counts of murder." The exploitable meme was posted to Twitter in March 2021 and gained viral spread shortly after, inspiring variations over the following months where the image is replaced with another character. On June 13th, Twitter user @capybara_man posted a version of the meme replacing the image with a capybara, gaining over 5,900 likes and 800 retweets in a year (shown below).


Crimes His name gort Several counts of murder

Masbro

On July 26th, 2022, Instagram[35] user @cjzuero uploaded screenshots of a Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas mod showing the titular character, Carl Johnson, seeing a capybara in the street. The post received more than 5,900 likes in seven months (shown below, left). Prior to January 19th, 2023, an unknown user uploaded a poor-resolution version of @cjzuero's screenshot and added text reading "aduh masbro" (Eng. ouch dude). On January 19th, 2023, Facebook[36] user Dio Cinta Marinette II reposted the image to "Dokumen Asli Upgrade 8TB: Not for Sale" group (shown below, right).


CJZUERO FAUCI aduh masbro

Starting in January 2023, Capybaras popularized in Indonesia under the name "masbro." For example, on January 31st, 2023, Facebook[37] user Jullnevercryy uploaded a compilation of Capybara photos combined with Indonesian sentences that end with "masbro" to the "EMU Shitpost" group. The post received 342 reactions and 615 shares in one week (shown below, left). On February 1st, 2023, Facebook[38] page "Rakyat +62" uploaded similar compilations that received more than 3,900 reactions and 714 shares in one week (shown below, right).


Jullnevercryy 31 Januari pukul 06.46 - masbro ... enin santai Mas Bro Makasih Masbro +11 iya masbro aduh masbro MENUJU LOKAS Rakyat +62 1 Februari pukul 15.34 - +62 MasBro Iyakah masbro Makasih Masbro BAIKLAH MASBRO +11 : Keren Masbro

On February 2nd, 2023, Facebook[39] user Seito Kai uploaded a clip from the Yuru Camp anime series that shows capybaras and matches them with masbro memes. The video received more than 2,100 reactions and 1,400 shares in five days (shown below, left). On January 31st, 2023, Indonesian content creator YaBegitulah used Facebook[40] to upload an edit comparing Big Floppa with Capybaras, competing for the title of the real "masbro." The video received more than 12,000 reactions and 1,900 shares in one week (shown below, right).



Capybara Song

The Capybara Song, also known as "Капибара" by СтоЛичный Она-Нас or "Capybara" by Capital She-Us, refers to a song prevalent on TikTok that repeats the word "capybara" over and over again in reference to the rodent-like animal. The song was made by the Russian band СтоЛичный Она-Нас in mid-2022. Capybara memes became commonplace online in 2022, resulting in the Capybara Song, which was used in video memes going into early 2023. In March 2023, the Capybara Song had a resurgence in popularity which resulted in viral discourse over whether or not the song was cringe. Much of the discourse centered on a generational divide between Millennials and Zoomers.



Various Examples


саpybara ?! сарybara!!! ^_^ coconut doggy o my gosh CAPYBARAS INTERVIEW st 東京駅一番街 WHAT DID THEY WITNESS THEY TALK about society
THE ONE PERSON WHO IS COOL WITH EVERYONE When you're at the family Christmas party and your parents make you sit at the kids table but you're 20 SENORGIF COV

Search Interest

External References

[1] Capybara.eek – Main Page

[2] Capybara.eek – Watanabe

[3] YouTube – カピバラ写真家渡辺克仁

[4] Twitter – @capybarahp

[5] Facebook – カピバラ写真家〇渡辺克仁

[6] Tumblr – animalssittingoncapybaras

[7] Tumblr – animalssittingoncapybaras

[8] Tumblr – animalssittingoncapybaras

[9] Tumblr – animalssittingoncapybaras

[10] Twitter – @oncapybaras

[11] VK – Капибары и Progressive Rock

[12] VK – Капибары и Progressive Rock

[13] VK – Капибары и цитаты Черномырдина

[14] VK – Капибары и цитаты Черномырдина

[15] Wikipedia – Planet Earth II

[16] Twitter – @Jodie_Eastwood

[17] Twitter – @mjkkelly1973

[18] Reddit – This capybara reacting to a jaguar who just killed a caiman

[19] Twitter – @justkelly_ok

[20] YouTube – Why Do Animals Like Capybaras So Much?

[21] Twitter – @capybarahp

[22] YouTube – 柚子湯2018 

[23] Reddit – Capybara

[24] YouTube – Capybara with mandarin orange on head みかんを頭にのせるカピバラ 伊豆シャボテン動物公園元祖カピバラ露天風呂 MAESTRO ZEN

[25] Twitter – @RobertMaguire_

[26] Twitter – @w0a0i0fw0a0i0f

[27] Twitter – @virtuaIfairies

[28] Twitter – @CAPYBARA_MAN

[29] Twitter – @CAPYBARA_MAN

[30] Twitter – @CAPYBARA_MAN

[31] YouTube – Ok I pull up hop out at the after party you and all your friends

[32] YouTube – okay I pull up, hop out at the after party

[33] The Guardian – Attack of the giant rodents or class war? Argentina’s rich riled by new neighbors

[34] Twitter – @lukamaru

[35] Instagram – Capybara

[36] Facebook – Doksli capybara 'aduh masbro'

[37] Facebook – masbro

[38] Facebook – MasBro

[39] Facebook – Masbro…

[40] Facebook – Sulit Masbro

Recent Videos 8 total

Recent Images 87 total


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